Organising a successful trade show or general event

Organising a trade show or general event requires several key steps, which demand some advance planning.
Your show’s success is based on several points which must be dealt with properly before the start. Here, we outline all the steps to organise your trade show like an expert.


Before embarking on the organisation of your trade show (or general event), it is essential to choose where your event will be hosted. To choose the region or city which will host your show, you must consider several points.

The chosen location must be economically vibrant in order to draw visitors. Going for a city or region with quality hotels and restaurants will help to make your exhibitors' and visitors' overall stay more enjoyable.

It is a good idea to contact the Convention Bureau of the city in which you intend to put on your show to make sure you are not clashing with a popular local event. They will also be able to inform you about hotel occupancy over the period you have chosen and if necessary, help you with your invitations to tender.

A destination where the market leaders of the theme of your show are present is a big plus, but you must convince them to participate, since this will be essential to your events’ success.

The selected city must have good transport links, whether by car, van, train or air, so exhibitors and visitors arriving from all over France and Europe will be able to easily make their way to your show.


Choosing a venue

Before booking a venue for your event, you need to ask yourself a few basic questions. How much surface area do I need? What are the technical and organisational restrictions of the trade fair? How many days do I need, including setting-up and closing-down time? What are the planned dates? Is there already a similar trade show in the chosen destination? If so, when and where?

In order for everything to go smoothly, you must get all the information you need before choosing where your event will take place.

First of all, take into account the size of the place and the various types of spaces it offers. Of course, the amount of exhibitors must be taken into account, but also any entertainment planned, requirements in terms of conference rooms, exhibitor and visitor parking, etc. The trade show organisation budget depends largely on the expenses linked to reserving the venue (renting the exhibition hall, meeting rooms, obligatory technical services, etc.).

Don't just focus on the first run of your show, think forward to how it will progress. The chosen venue must also be suitable for future shows and the further advancement of your event.

Access to the venue is also a key point. To attract visitors in their droves, they must have easy access to the venue you have chosen to host your event. The ideal location is one that offers plenty of parking for exhibitors and visitors coming by car, and that is also connected to the public transport network, and thus easy to reach from the city centre, railway station and airport.

Exhibition centers, but also convention centres, are sites that are used to hosting this type of event, providing the organisers with all the tools they need.
Depending on the theme of your trade fair, you can also opt for creative, original venues to give your event an alternative flavour.


Choosing entertainment and conferences

Today's visitors expect a lot from the content of a trade show. In addition to seeing exhibitions, they want to be able to learn through lectures and workshops, and to be entertained with all kinds of fun activities.

This is why it's important to carefully select the entertainment on display at your event, taking into account the expectations of your visitors, as well as the type of event you are organising (generalised or professional).

The entertainment will attract people, thus fuelling the promotion of your show.


Convincing leading exhibitors

In order to satisfy your visitors, the range of products and services on offer at the show must be as broad as possible. In order to do this, it is first necessary to convince the leaders of the various categories of the show, since their presence will facilitate the participation of other exhibitors.

The show must also highlight exhibitors who present innovations and original products.

The creation of a specified space for start-ups is also important, as it will be popular amongst visitors, exhibitors and especially the press, who are keen on new developments.

Necessary administrative documents

When organising your event, you will have to carry out the necessary administrative steps to register your event.

First of all, you must request authorisation from the local authority of the chosen location to hold the event. If it is registered at the local authority, they will take care of announcing it, which will make your life easier.

Next, the safety record. It must be written by a security officer (if you do not know one, the host site will be able to provide you with contact information). The file must be submitted to the town council of the host location two months before the date of opening.


Communication with visitors 

The choices you make regarding communication will depend on your audience. This is because the communication strategy of a trade show is very different from that of a general public event. Messages and tools will not always be the same, and depend on who you are targeting. 

For general public events

While outdoor advertising remains a medium of choice for trade fairs, digital advertising is a powerful, indispensable way of reaching the target audience.
Social networks, especially online advertising campaigns, will allow you to more easily reach a previously identified audience.

In addition, digital makes it easier for them to reach the e-ticket purchase page by directing potential visitors directly to your online ticketing purchase page. It would be useful to fill this page with attractive content, outlining your show and its features.

To reach the general public, radio is also an important player. You can promote your show by offering listeners the chance to win free tickets. There is also the possibility of inviting your radio partner to host a show at the big event.

For trade shows

As for professional events, the trade press will enable you to communicate directly with your trade show target audience.

Digital should not be forgotten however, since it allows you to broadcast your message to a chosen audience thanks to targeting.
For more direct communication, email is also a good communication tool.

Whether you’re targeting the general public or professionals, contacting the press is an excellent way to reach your target audience.  Before the event, you can publish your event in the local or specialised press to get the message out there. After the event, you can send a report to declare the success of the event and thus prepare the next edition.